Yesterday my husband did one of the sweetest, most loving things I can imagine, and I just wanted to share it with you. This was a great example (to me) of showing love to your spouse.
I need to preface this by saying that I have a thing about my kitchen. Those of you who know me well have certainly seen my kitchen messy, but that is because I like you enough to be transparent. (And usually I really want to hang out with you, so I pretend it isn't there.) For whatever reason, my house feels cleanest when my kitchen is picked up. I am fanatical about running my dishwasher so that dirty dishes have somewhere to go, I love nothing more than to have the counters wiped down, and I don't believe in having anything in my sink. (FlyLady stole my neurosis.)
The key to keeping the kitchen under control is an empty trash can. An overflowing trash can almost makes me feel like I might break out in hives (or a foreboding show tune from "Sweeney Todd"). I prefer my trash can to never get past half full. I also believe that trash is one of those gender specific roles - boys do trash, girls do ironing. Add to that, I really don't like lifting heavy things, and my dear husband has a part time job as the garbage man.
Yesterday morning the kitchen was a mess. On Wednesday nights the family plays Wii (we call it "Wii Wednesday" and it's a great time), and due to a rather intense bowling competition, I didn't get to reassemble the kitchen to my liking that night. So my first priority Thursday was to get that kitchen picked up.
Thursday was also a busy day for Mark at work. As he rushed out the door to drop Jude off at school and then head to work, I realized he hadn't taken out the overflowing trash. I figured I would give myself a little pep talk and take the trash out myself (which I am capable of doing, but have I mentioned it is my least favorite job?). I got Calvin settled on pbskids.org and headed into the kitchen to begin the resuscitation.
All of the sudden the door opened and in came Mark. He had dropped Jude off at school and stopped back home. I figured he had forgotten his backpack.
He remembered that the trash was full, and came back home to take it out. He closed the trash bag, hefted it up on his shoulder, gave me a kiss, and headed off to work.
Now I know it sounds crazy, but I think that was one of the sweetest and most loving things I have ever seen. No, I am sure it didn't smell as good as a bouquet of roses and it certainly isn't as romantic as dinner and a movie, but with that little gesture Mark conveyed to me that he knows what matters to me, he wants me to be successful in my job, and he will interrupt his day to help me out. I spent most of the afternoon yesterday calling him and leaving sweet messages to thank him for taking out the trash. It meant that much to me.
Everybody has their "trash thing" - that one little thing that can make life a little bit easier. Mark loves to play paintball, and he enjoys it more when I genuinely support his hobby and show interest in it. Mine is an empty trash can. Sure, love is about big choices - being faithful for better or worse, in sickness and in health - but it is also about a million little choices we make every day with our words and actions. Mark showed me that again yesterday.
I know it sounds funny, but I would encourage you to take your spouse's trash out today. Find that one little thing you can do to communicate value, love, and understanding. It meant the world to me.